The CWS® certification is offered by the American Board of Wound Management ABWM®. The CWS® Certified Wound Specialist is an accredited wound care certification that is valid for ten years.

the cws® certification certified wound specialist

CWS® Certification Information

  • 60% Passing rate 
  • $575 Exam application fee 
  • 150 Questions 
  • Offered by the ABWM®
  • Nationally accredited
  • Passing score = 87/125
  • Ten year certification 
  • Requires annual renewal ($150)
  • Associate RNs, RNs, BSNs, PTs, PAs and healthcare professionals with Bachelors, Masters, or Doctoral degrees can be eligible

Who is eligible for CWS® Wound Certification?

Healthcare professionals including RNs, Associate RNs RN-BSNs, PTs, and PAs can all become CWS® certified if they meet all necessary requirements.

Prior to 2019, Associate RNs were limited to the CWCA® certification, but  the CWS® is now open to all RNs. Comprehensively, DOs, DPMs, MDs, NPs, DVMs, PAs, PTs, OTs, PharmDs, RDs, and  RNs can all become CWS® wound care certified. 

The majority of people possessing the CWS® certification are RN-BSNs. Many PTs also choose to become CWS® certified. The CWS® is a ten-year, accredited wound certification offered by the ABWM®.

How do you become a CWS® Certified Wound Specialist?

In order to qualify as a candidate, healthcare professionals must also have three years of cumulative wound care experience. The experience does not have to be consecutive.  Professionals can prove they have three years of combined experience throughout their career. Like other ABWM® wound care certifications, additional requirements include having an active and unrestricted license. CWS® candidates must submit proof of experience and licenses to the ABWM to get approval to take the exam.

CWS® Certification Exam Info & Cost

The CWS® exam is a challenging exam with a 60% pass rate. The exam contains 150 questions, with 25 of those being ungraded. The passing score for the CWS® wound certification exam is 87/125. Being prepared for the CWS® exam can make all the difference – our online wound care certification courses have helped many healthcare professionals confidently pass their CWS® exam on the first try! 

How to Apply for the CWS® Wound Specialist Certification Exam

Follow these simple steps to apply for the CWS® exam.

  1. Download and review the Certified Wound Specialist® (CWS®) Candidate Handbook  
  2. Create an account and complete your application online. 
  3. Apply for the CWS® exam
  4. Once your application to sit for the certification examination has been approved, you may schedule your exam for any time in the following 90 days, based on availability at your local testing center.
  5. Exam scores are generated immediately. 

Required Wound Care Experience & CWS® Fellowship Option 

The three years of required wound care experience does not have to be consecutive or continuous. Part-time wound experience still counts! The ABWM® clarifies the wound care experience requirement as: “Wound care does not have to be your primary responsibility to meet the requirement of 3 years of experience, just so long as long as you have a cumulative total of three years of experience in wound care related roles. “

An alternative to having three years of wound care experience is to complete a fellowship in wound care. This fellowship must be certified by a credentialing organization and at least one year. A letter of recommendation must be supplied from the fellowship program director and include a CWS® Certified Wound Specialist that was actively involved in the wound training.

For either path to certification, Certified Wound Specialist candidates must possess a full and unrestricted professional license in at least one state and in all states in which the candidate currently practices.

Start with

Even if you do not have your three years of necessary experience or fellowship, you can still take the wound care certification course. (If you do not have the experience at this time, we recommend that you take the wound care certification course and obtain your “certificate of completion” and continuing education hours.

You can present this certificate of completion to your employer. This certificate will show that you have completed an advanced wound management course and may help you to get more wound care experience.

You will not be eligible to take the CWS® exam yet, but you can take our wound care certification course right away. The course will provide you with the necessary wound care knowledge to pass your CWS® exam later on.

Once you have the required experience to sit for the wound certification exam, we will re-enroll you in the course at no charge provided it is within three years of purchase. The CWS® exam can be difficult, but we are confident that if you complete our online wound care course, you can and will pass.

Our wound care courses will also provide Associate RNs, RN-BSNs, BSNs, and PTs with 57 CE hours. If you are an RN-BSN, we recommend taking our BSN wound care course over the RN wound care course, as the information presented in the BSN course is geared towards that knowledge and achievement level.

Other ABWM® Wound Care Certifications

To learn more about the ABWM® and all certifications offered by the ABWM®, visit our wound care certification information page. If you need more information on which certification is right for you, contact us! We love to help our students and future students become certified and find wound management jobs after certification.